LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Twenty-five deserving teachers at nine different Lufkin Independent School District campuses were surprised Wednesday by a visit from the district’s prize patrol.
Every year, the Lufkin Education Foundation chooses one special day to surprise teachers with grants for innovative learning projects that cannot be funded through the standard school district budget. Although a visit from the prize patrol is exciting enough, the group also includes the high school band and cheerleaders to really build up the fanfare.
Wednesday’s first stop was Lufkin High School, where special education teacher Abby McCarty works with life skills students. McCarty received one of the “big checks” valued at a $1,484.84, which will help fund a delivery project that involves her students.
“Last year, I got an idea over the summer from a special education blog that I follow. And she did what she called “coffee cart” on an elementary campus,” McCarty explained.
The delivery service involved students taking and delivering coffee orders from classrooms around campus. McCarty said although she believed the high school campus was too big, she took pen to paper to figure out a way to make it work.
She worked out routes, cart stations, and paired students with adults to make sure the order and delivery process was supervised but still gave students the freedom to learn from the job they were doing.
“I sent it to my principal and said I think this would be an awesome opportunity for our kids, not only our class but the kids on campus, the teachers on campus,” McCarty recalled. “They said this is great, let’s run with this.”
The coffee cart routes help get special education students involved in campus-related activities, McCarty added, but it also provides vocational skills that will stick with students long after they’ve graduated.
While carts are already stocked via donations in several areas around the Lufkin High School campus, McCarty said the prize patrol grant would help purchase supplies to help the project become more efficient.
“I’m so grateful to be in a district that supports new ideas, especially supports new ideas for our special education department,” said McCarty. “We’re not often in the spotlight, so it’s really been a humbling experience to be apart of.”
The following a complete list of teachers and schools awarded grants by the Lufkin Education Foundation:
Spark! - Suzy Jungmannn, Vada Hughes, LHS Stem Academy Teachers
Comfort with a constant Hug - Tracey Morris, Lena Nickle, Jill Riggs
Science, the Building Blocks of Life - Allison Guse, Brenda Ehrlich, Tori Watson
The Kinesthetic Classroom - Katherine Todd, Destiny Handy
The Sandbox - Michele Forrest, Brad Stewart
Student News Network - Amanda Gentry, Susan Liles, Deana Mastin, April Torres
Coffee Cart Friday - Abby McCarty, Shannon McBreaty, Morgan Crain
Learning Alive - Angela Duncan. Mary Beth Powell, Heather Price, Carla Smith
Put me in Coach - Aby Goff, Wyndie Shepherd
OSMO Innovators Kirby Bryce, Nikki NEal, Alyson Duncan, Amy Beaudion
Breakout Classroom - Tori Watson, Matty Dupree, Hallie Wallace, Carey Stewart
Breaking News - Connie Burkett, Lydia McMullen, Stacy McCarty
Parkour and Obstacle Course - Aby Goff, Wyndie Shepherd
Stemtastic Learning Fun - Angela Hancock, Caroline Leslie
Learning to Play and Playing to Learn - Heather Price, Jamie Mahan
Sensation Stations - Andrea Walker, Marilyn Kegler, Suzanne Langford, Ashley Self
Giving a Voice to Every Child - Kristen Taylor, Melinda Bowman, Aley Vardemann, Kim Kassaw
Sensory Play - Aby Goff, Shirlene MsHoney
Suds and Skills - Kayla Springfield, Amy Rhoades, Teri Watson, Jennifer Smith
Oh the Places We will Go - Angela Hancock, Caroline Leslie, Tina Luna, Mabel Havard
Frequent Flyer Miles - Amy Bennett, Emily Lawrence, Veronica Bryan, Jena Rouse, Kenneth Clark, Andre Thompson, Jane Semetko
Past Port to the Past - Amy Bennett, Joy Johns, Susan Harris, Dyson Nickles, Brian Crumbie, Mark Kreid